1st batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine arrives in Gaza after Israel lifts ban

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GAZA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) — The Hamas-run health ministry in the besieged Gaza Strip announced on Wednesday that it has received the first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

“Today, we received the first batch of the coronavirus vaccines for the first time since the outbreak of the disease in the Gaza Strip,” said Muneer al-Borsh, director of the Hamas-run health ministry’s pharmaceutical department.

He said the shipment contains 2,000 doses of vaccines and will be enough for the vaccination of 1,000 people.

“The shipment of the vaccines was sent to the Gaza Strip through the Israeli-controlled commercial crossing point of Kerem Shalom, in coordination with the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah,” al-Borsh noted.

At Kerem Shalom, Majdi Dhair, director of the Hamas-run health ministry’s health care, told reporters that the vaccination campaign in the Gaza Strip will start on Thursday morning.

Dhair said the first batch of vaccines will be used for the medical staff in intensive care units, patients who have transplanted organs, elderly people and patients with chronic diseases.

“We still don’t have any information on more shipments of vaccines to the Gaza Strip, home of more than 2 million population,” he added.

Israel on Monday refused to allow the coronavirus vaccines into the Gaza Strip, causing the Palestinian government to appeal for an international intervention into the issue, before Israel lifted the ban on Wednesday.

The Gaza Strip, which has been under tight land, sea and air blockade by Israel since 2006, has recorded a total of 53,871 COVID-19 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in Palestine in March 2020. Enditem

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